Therese Coffey outlines the benefits of Pension Credit scheme
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Most people in the UK have to pay for their dental care through the NHS, and expensive procedures can mean bills start to stack up, potentially costing hundreds of pounds. Fortunately for pensioners, there is a way they can access free dental treatment.
The amount of money charged for NHS dental care depends on the treatment provided.
There are three NHS charge bands which determine how much someone is usually charged for their dental care.
Band one treatment costs £23.80. This includes examinations, diagnosis and advice.
It also covers X-rays, a scale and polish, and any plans made for further treatment.
Band two carries a charge of £65.20.
It covers all the treatments included in Band one, plus additional treatment.
This includes fillings, root canal treatment and teeth removal.
Band three is considerably more expensive at £282.80.
This band covers all treatment included in bands one and two, as well as more complex procedures.
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Examples of this type of treatment could be crowns, dentures or bridges.
People may not think saving just over £20 every six months for a routine checkup is worth it, but if they ever needed more extensive work done, having access to free treatment could save hundreds of pounds.
Fortunately, there is no charge at all for some forms of care, regardless of whether someone is entitled to free NHS dental treatment or not.
Crucially for pensioners, this includes denture repairs.
Who is eligible for free care?
People who receive certain benefits because they are on a lower income are eligible to receive free NHS dental care.
Where this helps pensioners is that one of the applicable benefits is Pension Credit, a benefit specifically for people who have reached state pension age and are on a low income.
However, it is important to note that only those who receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit are eligible.
Guarantee Credit tops up single pensioners’ income to a guaranteed level of £177.10 per week, and £270.30 for couples.
There is another part of Pension Credit, known as Savings Credit, which provides an extra £14.04 per week to single pensioners and £15.71 to couples, but this does not qualify recipients for free dental care.
Pension Credit is means-tested, which means a person’s eligibility for the benefit is determined by calculating their income.
It is believed there are many people in the UK who could be receiving Pension Credit but have not claimed, so it may be worth it for anyone over state pension age to check whether they are eligible.
Pension Credit comes with a variety of other benefits, including help towards the cost of hospital travel, as well as the cost of glasses.
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